Great Moment (1921)

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Author Elinor Glyn knew how to generate publicity, and she created quite a bit when Paramount decided to film this story. In one scene, the girl (played by Gloria Swanson) has been bitten by a rattlesnake, and to save her, her co-star (played by Milton Sills) must suck the poison out of the wound -- which is located on her breast. A scene like this one just wasn't allowed in the silent era, and the studio was up in arms because Glyn refused to change it, at least until the controversy received enough press. Then she relented and allowed the wound to be low on the shoulder. As for the plot, it's the usual Glyn romantic stuff, and it kept Swanson -- who would soon become a superstar -- very much in the spotlight. Sir Edward Pelham (Alec B. Francis) married a Russian Gypsy (Swanson), and his daughter, Nadine (Swanson), now that's she's grown, is proving to have the same fiery temperament as her mother. Although he arranges for Nadine to marry her cousin, she falls in love with Bayard Delavel (Sills), a young engineer, during a trip to Nevada. Here is where the big rattlesnake bite scene happens. Delavel takes Nadine to his cabin to care for her, and gives her some whiskey. When her father walks in on the scene, he believes his daughter has been compromised and forces the couple to marry. Just as quickly, however, he also separates them and takes Nadine to Washington, D.C. Delavel, who believes that Nadine does not love him, allows her to go. In D.C., Nadine promises to marry Hopper (Arthur Hull), a millionaire, but when Delavel shows up at her engagement ball, the estranged couple are reunited.

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aristocracy, bachelorette, butterflies, daughter, disinheritance, engineering, gypsy, love, marriage, mine, passion, rescue, reunion, snake